Architectural and Engineering Glossary


Aluminum Window

Any window constructed principally of aluminum,the components of which usually are extruded.

Aluminum Zinc Coating

On a metal surface,a corrosionc resistant coating having properties similar to galvanizing.


A gallery or passage,as along the parapets of a castle,around the roof of a church,or along a cloister.

Ambient Pressure

In a water distribution system,the normal operating pressure at any particular location in the system.

Ambient Temperature

The temperature of the surrounding air.


1.A small niche in underground Roman or Greek tombs,forming a receptacle for a cinerary urn.2.In the Middle Ages,such a niche,but enlarged to admit a coffin.3.In the Middle Ages,the consecrated ground surrounding a church.


1.In early Christian churches,a pulpit for reading or chanting the Gospels or the Epistles.2.In contemporary Balkan or Greek churches,a large pulpit or reading desk.


In ancient Roman construction,the cross laths inserted between the rafter and tiles of a roof.

Ambulatory Church

A church having a domed center bay which is surrounded on three sides by aisles.


Abbr.for “Air Movement and Control Association.”


On drawings,abbr.for“air-moving device.”

Amended Water

Water to which a surfactant has been added.


A modification to a building’s contract documents.

Amer Std

Abbr.for “American Standard.”

American Basement

A floor of a building partly above and partly below grade level,often serving as the entrance level to the building.Also see basement.Also called a walk out basement.

American Bond

Same as common bond;same as English garden-wall bond.

Amino Plastic

Any plastic made of compounds derived from ammonia.


An instrument for measuring the rate of flow of electricity,usually expressed in amperes. 


A chemical used as a refrigerant, large low-temperature refrigeration systems (as in ice skating rinks) because of its high efficiency.

Ammonium Chloride

See sal ammoniac. 


Same as cupid. 


Same as putti.


A winged cherub.


Said of rock having no crystal structure.


The sloping top of a buttress or projecting pier.


Abbr.for ampere.


The current carrying capacity of a wire or cable,expressed in amperes.


The flow of electric current in a circuit,expressed in amperes.


The International Standard unit for electrical current. A unit of the rate of flow of electric current; an electromotive force of 1 volt acting across a resistance of 1 ohm results in a current flow of 1 ampere.


Marked by columns in porticoes only at the front and back (of a classical temple),not on the sides.


Said of a classical temple having columns across the length of both sides or across both ends.


A curtain divided in the center,closing the entrance through the iconostasis of a Greek church.


Of oscillation or vibration,the maximum displacement from the mean position. 

Amusement Park

A commercially operated park with entertainment features such as roller coasters,shooting galleries,merrygo-rounds,refreshment stands,etc.

Amyl Acetate, Banana Oil

A solvent for lacquers and paints;has a strong banana-like odor.


See dextrin.


An embellishment carved or chased in low relief.Also see bas-relief.


1.A retaining wall at the side of an ancient Greek or Roman theater.2.Any raised construction which serves as a support or rest.


1.A reading desk,lectern,or ambo.2.In the Eastern church,a stand on which choir books rest.


A drawing which appears to be distorted unless viewed from a particular angle or with a special device.


See titanium dioxide.


A Greek method of fitting masonry without mortar by carefully dressing the contact edges of the blocks,leaving the center rough and slightly recessed.

Anchor Beam

In a typical Dutch barn in colonial America,a massive horizontal timber that spans the barn from one gable end to the opposite end.

Anchor Block

A block of wood,replacing a brick in a wall to provide a nailing or fastening surface.

Anchor Bolt,foundation Bolt,hold Down Bolt

1.A steel bolt usually fixed in a building structure with its threaded portion projecting;used to secure frameworks,timbers,machinery bases,etc.2.See brick anchor.

Anchor Cable

A cable or line,one end of which is held in a fixed position.

Anchor Dart

See anchor.

Anchor Fastener

A mechanical  device (such as a bolt or spike) used to secure a timber or wood framework.

Anchor Iron

Same as beam anchor.

Anchor Line

Same as anchor cable.